Mineral oil

From Sciencemadness Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Mineral oil
Mineral paraffin oil bottle.jpg
Liquid paraffinum from a beekeeping store
Other names
Liquid petroleum
Liquid paraffin
Pariffinum liquidum
White oil
Appearance Colorless odorless viscous liquid
Density 0.836-0.91 g/cm3 (at 20 °C)
Boiling point 310–360 °C (590–680 °F; 583–633 K)
Solubility Miscible with hydrocarbons, anhydrous alcohols
Insoluble in glycerol
Vapor pressure <0.1 kPa (at 20°C)
Safety data sheet ScienceLab
Flash point 160-168.33 °C (closed cup)
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Infobox references

Mineral oil is the name given to light mixtures of higher alkanes, obtained from the distillation of petroleum. It is also known as liquid paraffin or pariffinum liquidum, white oil and liquid petroleum.



Mineral oil has little reactivity and will only ignite in air at high temperatures.


Mineral oil is colorless, odorless, viscous liquid. It is insoluble in water, but miscible with many organic solvents. It has a density of around 0.85 g/cm3, depending on the type of oil (light or heavy).[1] It has a flash point of 168.33°C[2].


Mineral oil is available as baby oil, either pure or with perfume. The latter should be removed before using the oil in experiments.

It is also sometimes available as camp fuel. Some lamp and torch oils are 100% mineral oil.

Beekeeping suppliers will also sell mineral oil (labelled paraffin oil), used for the treatment of honey bee mites. It has good purity and generally lacks additives.


Mineral oil is best bought than made, as it's very cheap.


  • Store alkali metals
  • Make an oil bath
  • Make sodium metal



Mineral oil poses little risk, but untreated mineral oil is considered hazardous. It is generally not flammable at room temperature, needs prior heating to ignite. Ingestion of mineral oil will lead to diarrhea, as oils are laxative.


Mineral oil should be kept in closed bottles. As it is not volatile, you can use any clean bottle.


No special disposal is required. Should be disposed like any other oil.


  1. http://cameo.mfa.org/wiki/Mineral_oil
  2. http://www.sciencelab.com/msds.php?msdsId=9927364

Relevant Sciencemadness threads